The Kaufman County Junior Livestock Show had a new look this year, with additions and upgrades to facilities.
It also had a severe challenge as the fairgrounds were inundated with mud.
Thanks to record rains in February, the grounds were already a soggy mess when exhibitors began moving in their animals on Wednesday.
Then overnight rains made things even worse, and some patrons had to be pulled from the mud with tractors and four-wheel drives. It put parking at a premium and resulted in the usual parking fee being waived.
But by Saturday afternoon for the closing auction, the sun was shining and conditions were improving. County commissioners pitched in with some rock to help make some of the areas passable.
Exhibitors benefited from a new addition on the back of the show barn, sponsored by Kaufman County Farm Bureau.
It greatly expanded areas for exhibitors to house animals out of the weather.
The women’s building had a fresh, new look with a completely remodeled interior.
Lighting issues were addressed as many fixtures had to be replaced, which show supporter Columbia Packing stepped in to take care of.
And the Ondrusek family jumped in to replace some ragged chain link fencing with new pipe fencing.
The show was dedicated to longtime volunteer Billy Johnson, whom stock show board President Rusty Ondrusek said puts in countless hours and always has the best interest of the students at heart.
Ondrusek presented the President’s Award to Terry Evans, another tireless volunteer.
Earlier in the week the swine show was dedicated to Ken Gillispie of Crandall, who volunteered with the show for many decades. He passed away in June.
His family members were on hand to accept the dedication plaque.
Herdsman awards went to Forney for swine and for goats and lambs and to Kaufman for cattle.
Kaufman was second in goats and lambs and third in swine. Crandall placed second in swine and third in goats and lambs. Terrell was second and Scurry-Rosser third in cattle.
The annual scholarship recipients were John Carter Teague of Mabank and Zachary White of Scurry-Rosser.
Fundraisers leading off the auction raised $400 from Chad Jones for a cowboy cooker donated by the McGee family in memory of Tony Dean and $1,100 from J&S Meat to display its sign on the auction stand for the next year. The firm also won that bid a year ago.
Those efforts benefit the scholarship fund, along with the annual barbecue cookoff to be held this weekend at the fairgrounds.
Grand champions led off the auction, with Ryan Davis of Mabank FFA taking the show ring for the second straight year with the grand champion steer.
His 1,300-pound exotic breed drew $8 per pound from a group of Mabank donors.
Alyvia Smith of Scurry-Rosser FFA drew $8.50 a pound for the champion market hog, also from a buyers’ group.
Riana Lilley of Mabank FFA sold the grand champion lamb for $16 per pound.
Kently Northcutt of Crandall FFA received $1,300 for the champion market goat from Crandall buyers.
The champion market broilers of Tamryn McGlocklin of Crandall FFA went for $900.
Rusty Miller of the Scurry-Rosser FFA sold the top market rabbits for $750.
The grand champion creative talent cake of Grace Hague from the County Liners 4-H sold for $350.
The ag mechanics winners from Kemp FFA, Josh Noe, Jason Moore and Keelan Kutril, received $750 for their tool box.
Some 151 lots went through the auction.